Well, I’ve only gone and written a short book on Fibromyalgia, specifically my own experience. Expect whinging, witty barbs and no help whatsoever on the condition. Hopefully, if you’re going through a chronic condition like Fibromyalgia, ME or CFS, it might at least give you a gentle assurance that you are not crazy. Pre-order it now:
So, having had a wedge of cashola taken from me by WordPress for another year, I have the dilemma of what to write about. Should I bore you all with yet more fibromyalgia musings and ‘Woe Is Me!’ rantings? Well, occasionally I might. I shall try and be dramatic though my particular battles are not in the same league as some of you out there. The other option is therefore to write about writing and especially my four books, using this as something of a landing pad for them. Unfortunately the only creature who has had an interest in my books has been my dog and even then I needed to wipe peanut butter on each kindle page for him to take interest. Nevertheless, never let it be said that I can take a hint, so expect more news on the grand literary work of Vasily Peregrine Pugh.
Yes, despite a hundred reasons not to bother, I have finally finished my new book, Gusto. And it’s available on Amazon. And you surely don’t think I’m above plugging it on my site!
As previously said, I was tempted to have a fibromyalgic heroine (actually, that should be anti-heroine – read the book and you’ll see) but I didn’t want the book to be longer than War & Peace.
When I am living off the profits of the above and building a massive mantlepiece for all of the awards, I’ll no doubt remember this being written, edited and fine-tuned throughout a deeply unpleasant heatwave. I know fellow sufferers find the sun quite a balm for their bones, but typical contrarian I am, I find it troubling. The old fibro sweats mean that a good night’s sleep is not a given. Still, at least I can walk the dog in my shorts (me in the shorts, not him) which must have turned more stomachs than Andrew’s Liver Salts. Just doing my bit, ma’am.
The picture gives an accurate depiction of gout – if only there was a similarly evocative one for fibromyalgia. Perhaps a hot, heavy elephant determined to get a piggyback from you? Or a shaol of Disney-esque piranhas slowly gnawing into your nerves. Piranhas with wobbily dentures as to prolong the experience. Having now got two tasty conditions, I am reliably informed that if I get a third, a win a free lampshade. Apparently arthritis might be on its way so I’m already choosing between Baby Blue and a nice soft yellow colour – I’ll leave it to my wife to decide.
One experience I have recently had is walking with a stick which, for a writer, is a terrifically powerful image. I feel like a massive fraud as my use of said stick might be temporary, but I intend to embrace the look of Russian dissident writer in small town while I have it. A monocle will follow shortly. Bring back the monocle I say.
The gout has a pleasant ruddy colour like a partially cooked prawn and a texture of a drumskin. It is so fetching that my dog has already inspected it and trod on it once, a move that elicited some choice anti-canine language. As previously mentioned, my dog – as utterly wonderful as he is – is not one of those incredible mutts who can sniff out illness. Don’t expect him to bring you a keg of rum if you’re stranded on a mountaintop. He will bring my wife and I his second favourite semi-masticated bone on occasion which we of course hold to our respective bosom with joy.
As per the title of this blog, I have thought about sawing the offending part of my being off to lessen the effect. It seems that you just cannot buy a saw good enough to get through bone from the usual retailers and when I ask, I do get the most unusual looks. Yet, despite almost certainly being watched by the police now, I return to my original thought of ‘stop moaning’. As incredible as it seems given this blog is about fibromyalgia, I am not one of life’s complainers and am very active despite everything. I won’t be entering UFC any time soon, but I do all right. I’m always aware that there are many fibro sufferers much less fortunate than my good self even now I have entered the exciting world of gout. Still, it gives me something to write about. Unless you want me to talk about my latest book…
So while I’ve been preparing my latest book for publication (and I’m self-indulgent enough to plug it above) I have acquired the rather unpleasant side disease of Gout. Fibromyalgia and Gout. The one-two punch combo that offers you both the dull constant ache of the former and the new hot-broken-glass rubbed into bones feel of the latter. A real privilege. That said, now I feel like a proper writer! Forget sales and good reviews (though they are very nice), there is no greater validation of the art than knowing that you have one of those classic diseases that Ivan Turgenev had! Yet when people discover you have gout – a hereditary thing in my case – most remark that you need to lay off the port and pheasant; yes, that is exactly my life – swigging booze and eating the finest poultry while drifting around the house in a cravat. Yes, if you think that you don’t get much understanding when you utter the term ‘fibromyalgia’, wait until you say you’ve got gout too. I can almost feel a peasants’ revolt forming against me outside – opulent bourgeois writer keeping the ordinary man down. I can assure you that, despite having the port flavoured wine gum on occasion of being offered it, I am far from the foppish Shelley-like character who is paying for years of excess.
So here I am, foot swollen, dog snuggling up to me for sympathy (and food) and cursed with the family disease, its first incursion into my life. And yet, as I walk around like a constipated version of Robocop, I feel far better off than most.
It has been a while since I have contributed to my own site dedicated to the madness of Fibromyalgia. It almost seems churlish to talk about aches and pains while the world goes through COVID. But the misery of others isn’t like downing the old co-codamol to stop your own body pain. It still happens. You still have to deal with it.
The funny thing about Fibromyalgia – though actually its as pitifully unfunny as a Seth Rogen comedy – is that the symptoms cross over with that particular pandemic quite often. So there’s been times where I’ve appeared like Patient Zero, coughing, spluttering, aching and feverish. That’s not to say that it is life-threatening like COVID though: no, Fibromyalgia prefers the ‘Death of a Thousand Cuts’ of gradual torture. So while you have that eternal guilt of feeling like a dry husk of humanity while others are actually dying.
I’m also finishing my fourth book, ‘Gusto’. You will notice that most of the characters in my books, however involved in action they are, are rarely the muscular Channing Tatum types. I even find writing over strenuous adjectives to be too much hard work! Much better to have a hero or heroine ordinary enough to be deputy manager at Aldi. I’ve thought about having a Fibromyalgia suffering heroine for a future book – I think the mix of intrigue, excitement and the mind-numbing mundanity of the Fibro sufferer might be quite interesting. There could be a chase scene where the lead character then has to spend the next three days in bed recovering. She could be cracking a counterfeit Tramadol ring. Or chasing after a villain on a souped-up mobility scooter like a cross between Vin Diesel and Davros (the Dr. Who villain not the island). Instead of firing bullets at her the villains could just rub her arm on a particularly sensitive day and watch her writhe around in agony.
Anyway, I will try to update more though as the average traffic for this blog is about one visit per lunar cycle, I’ll not be putting myself in a coma to do it.
In the corner of the world that I am in, there is an insidious damp cold consuming the country. A Dickensian fog covers the streets and I am certain that I saw an urchin begging for more. For the fibromyalgia sufferer, this is especially annoying as that same damp cold feels like it is crushing the bones. Now there are, of course, worse illnesses to have and I have no intention of belittling them. But this is a fibromyalgia blog so you will have to go through some of these whinges on my part in the hope that there is a nugget of wisdom in there somewhere.
Anyway, back to the damp cold. When you are young and your parents speak about drafts from open windows in hushed, fearful tones reserved for nuclear apocalypse, you assume that they are slightly crackers. And the idea of cold weather being damp sounds like the insane rantings of two people who you share DNA with. Then, one of two things happens, sometimes both. Firstly, you get old and begin to feel the incredible misery of ‘the draft’. Secondly, you receive an illness where your body becomes a ludicrous barometer, the humidity of each day being keenly felt in the joints. The freezing fog that has descended on the country feels like someone is crushing the bones in your body and the fibro sufferers good friend – other than copious amounts of Co-codamol – the thermals are cracked out of their case and wrapped around the limbs. Hugs from relatives, loved ones and over-emotional stalkers have a vice-like feel. And yet it’s not like you are cold, for many fibromyalgics are always close to a fever. Delicate, sweaty and yet bones aching from the cold – it’s not the coolest look. Your gait becomes like the child-catcher from ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ and your stalk through the streets in a way that strikes fear into those you meet. If I thought that I had a grim, post-apocalyptic look before, I am now a grey-skinned monkeyoid that you would walk across the street to avoid. Interesting times. Still, after work, walking the dog and the cavalcade of other things that have to be considered, it does seem to motivate to get the next book done.
It’s 5am. The romantic murmur of the waste collection truck fills the air, occasionally punctuated by a gurgle from a local drunk. Most people don’t experience this thrilling audio frisson, but my body – desperate for me to enjoy this – has got me up. With a typical lack of subtlety, it has chosen to give me the aforementioned sensation alongside the constant thump in my cranium as if said ants are taken to testing atomic weapons in my cerebral cortex. I will have to make that awkward call to work about not being able to turn up later and I hope there won’t be too much eye-rolling and lamentation. There is something rather miserable about this although it does mean that I can catch up on the latest infommercials. At least I can write this utter piffle before I go back to bed. No more to add.
I was sat on my sofa, church bell outside striking four, dog annoyed at my nocturnal activities. I watched eagerly as the Abflex was keenly advertised by a strapping gentleman with no body hair and a woman who looks like she could quite easily take me in a fight. I had no intention of buying the product but, awaiting the halogen cooker commercial with near-febrile intensity, I decided to watch. This is the netherworld of the fibromyalgia sufferer. A strange twilight existence where one is launched from their bed at some ungodly hour due to pain, stiffness or restless legs. A world where the sweet embrace of co-codamol is eagerly awaiting like a hug from a damp, but beloved aunt. A strange sphere where, despite being completely disinterested in alcohol bar the occasional Pimms, one is blessed with intermittent drunkenness brought on by the heady madness of ‘Fibrofog’. Those of you who have yet to dip your toes in the joyous madness of fibromyalgia may wonder what this is – what is the fibrofog that sufferers talk about in hushed tones? As noted, it’s a glorious blanket of wet mud over the head where colours are ludicrously intense, sound is discordant and the mind begins to go off on bizarre tangents. Now, those who know me or who may have had the modest misfortune to read one of my books (yes, I am a writer to the humanitarians out there) would suggest that may mind was never very linear and my babblings were always that of the slobbering hobo you avoid in the town centre outside B&M. Yet ‘Fibrofog’ gives me a superpower. A rubbish one. Imagine the least exciting, marginalised member of the X-Men. The one that would have to stay in the big house waiting for the gas meter to be read while the others are taking on a galactic threat. With this fibrofog I am able to mutter and hypothesise in the most gut-wrenchingly inane way. “Why did the Beach Boys buy that Hovercraft?” an example of a recent blathering. My wife gains entertainment from this and shows that I might not have looks, brains, skills, money, success, charm or anything else one might consider an irresistible lure to the opposite sex, but by jingo I can talk utter nonsense with the best of them. This blog is inspired by experiences with an illness that pushes one to the brink of insanity, crush the body with pain and leave one feeling like a most pointless member of society. I don’t promise anything other than self-indulgent and semi-cretinous thoughts on this most uncool of illness and hope that, sufferer, companion to whinging sufferer or weird voyeur, you will consume these with mild interest.
So why befoul the internet with yet more waffle? Could this vital service not be ably provided by the politicians and celebrities who are so skilful at it? Should I not just stop writing all together? Well, I’m afraid that’s not going to happen, mum. Join me, therefore, on a sporadic rant about fibromyalgia (often called ‘Sexy M.E.’ in the media these days), tips on not sawing your legs off and shameless plugs of my books.